NEW YORK, NY (May 12, 2014)—Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, announced today that author Kristin Levine will receive New-York Historical’s first annual Children’s History Book Prize for The Lions of Little Rock (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012), a historical-fiction novel set in Little Rock, AK, in 1958. The New-York Historical Society Children’s History Book Prize is awarded to the best American history book, fiction or non-fiction, for middle grade readers ages 9–12.

“We are pleased to present our inaugural New-York Historical Society Children’s History Book Prize to Kristin Levine,” said Mirrer. “We feel it is important to honor the best children’s historical literature, and encourage authors to continue to create engaging and challenging narratives that provide a window into the past.”

The Lions of Little Rock, Kristin Levine’s second book, tells the story of two 12-year-old girls—one black and one white—who form an unbreakable bond during the tumultuous integration of Little Rock schools in 1958, and face dangers their friendship could bring to both their families. The girls attend a junior high school in the same district as the Little Rock Nine—a group of African-American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957, who were initially prevented from entering the racially-segregated school by the Governor of Arkansas. They were able to attend only after President Eisenhower intervened.

This year’s $10,000 prize will be presented to Kristin Levine by New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on May 23 at the New-York Historical Society from noon until 1:30 PM before an audience of students. On June 1, from 3 PM until 5 PM, Kristin Levine will discuss her book at the monthly Reading into History Family Book Club. Families are invited to explore artifacts from the New-York Historical Society’s collection related to the history of segregation in American schools.

Each year, New-York Historical will celebrate the work of an outstanding writer and publisher of children’s books about American history with the Children’s History Book Prize. The recipient is selected by a jury comprised of librarians, educators, historians, and families with middle grade readers.

The book prize is part of the New-York Historical Society’s larger efforts on behalf of children and families. In 2011, as part of its major renovation, the New-York Historical Society opened the DiMenna Children’s History Museum, a museum within the museum where families are encouraged to explore history together, and the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library, which hosts regular family programs. One popular program is the Reading into History Family Book Club, a monthly gathering where families read a historical fiction or nonfiction book at home each month, then attend a special event at the DiMenna Children’s History Museum to share their reactions, experience related artifacts and documents, and meet historians and authors. Throughout the New-York Historical Society, visitors are encouraged to explore history through characters and narrative. New-York Historical’s work with middle grade readers and their families is grounded in the belief that offering creative opportunities that engage the entire family helps young readers to grow and thrive.

About the Author
Kristin Levine graduated from Swarthmore College in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in German. Before publishing her works, she worked various jobs—from an au pair in Vienna, Austria to a professor of screenwriting at American University, where she received her Masters of Fine Arts degree. Her first book, The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had, was on the American Library Association's 2010 list of Best Books for Young Adults and was selected as a Virginia Readers' Choice.

About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America's pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

Monday, May 19, 2014
Creative: Tronvig Group